Yahoo! Sports reports that the Warriors are “more committed than ever” in moving their disgruntled swingman, but can they find a buyer?
First things first: the 31-year-old has three years and more than $27 million remaining on his contract after this season. This could be a tough pill to swallow for a team that’s already over the luxury tax threshold because it would effectively pay $16-$20 million per season (salary + tax) for his services, depending on what kind of contracts they give up in the trade.
Jackson has a reputation as a malcontent. Whether or not this is deserved is up for debate, but that’s the perception. For that reason, I don’t think teams at are currently legit contenders would roll the dice, so even though teams like the Cavs and Spurs are rumored to be willing to trade for Jackson, there’s just too much risk for too little reward. I don’t think the Lakers, Celtics or Magic would go for it either. The Lakers and Magic already overhauled their wings and the Celtics seem content with their group. Of these teams, Boston would seem the most capable of taking Jackson on due to the veteran leadership of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and the clear pecking order on the wing.
I think we have to look at the next tier of contenders — the Mavericks, Bulls, Hawks, Blazers, Suns, Heat and Hornets — to find a team that is both desperate enough to risk adding Jackson to the roster and willing to spend to contend.
The Bulls and Heat are going to use their cap space next summer, so cross them off. The Mavs are winning and have pretty good chemistry right now, even though they have yet to add Josh Howard to the mix. The Blazers have learned from their past and seem unwilling to take on players with character issues. The Suns and Hawks have financial problems and are unlikely to take on Jackson’s contract.
That leaves the Hornets, who looked to be in cost-cutting mode when they tried to give Tyson Chandler away last season. But then they turned around this summer and traded for Emeka Okafor, who has four more years remaining on his deal after this season. The Hornets are starting Morris Peterson and Julian Wright on the wing and have Peja Stojakovic (and his giant salary) coming off the bench. In short, they are desperate for a player like Jackson who can knock down open shots. Moreover, Chris Paul has the leadership and the heft to bring out the best in Jackson.
New Orleans has a number of players with short deals (Stojakovic, James Posey, Morris Peterson and Darius Songaila) who could be used to facilitate a deal. Are the Warriors just looking to get out from under Jackson’s contract? If so, a deal that includes Peterson and Songaila would save Golden State $16 million over the next three years. Do they want a prospect? Then maybe Julian Wright could be included.
Is Stephen Jackson enough to put the Hornets over the top? I don’t know. But let’s not forget that the Hornets looked to be on the verge just a couple of seasons ago. But as Peterson and Stojakovic have declined, so have the Hornets. They need a good wing, and Jackson fits the bill.
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